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The theory of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin continues to challenge faithful Catholics who wonder if Darwin’s ideas are compatible with their religious beliefs. In recent years, resolving this intellectual tension has been made even more difficult by a growing number of Catholic creationists who have argued that Darwin’s theory is incompatible with the Catholic faith.

The Dominican friars at Providence College want to respond to this intellectual and social challenge by bringing the profound insights of St. Thomas Aquinas into conversation with contemporary evolutionary theory. We want to show Catholics that it is still reasonable to think that God created through an evolutionary process to better reveal His glory.

This public engagement grant will support three teams of scholars, all trained in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. The first team will write a high school textbook to help students understand how God created through evolution. A second team will author 5-8 philosophical essays to explore the appearance of novelty in evolution. A final team will author 5-8 theological essays to explain the Christian account of Adam’s first sin, after Darwin. We will also host conferences that engage Catholic skeptics of evolution to listen and respond to their objections. These deliverables will reveal the compatibility between evolutionary thought and Catholic faith.

Finally, the creation of these resources will establish a network of Catholic scholars willing to speak and to write publicly about faith and science. They will be featured on an enhanced website, ThomisticEvolution.org, that will include new online lectures, podcasts, and regular blog posts.

We believe that that this project will help Catholics to understand that they do not have to choose between faith or reason: As Pope St. John Paul II, declared, “faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.”